Astana Hub summed up the results of the year
This year, with the support of the Ministry of Digital Development and Aerospace Industry, the technopark issued 100 grants for students of programming schools to study IT specialties, helped Kazakhstani IT companies conclude agreements and contracts with foreign partners for a total of $840,000, and for the first time financed 35 startups in various stages of development for a total amount of 300 million tenge.
Today, 600 companies are members of Astana Hub, of which 252 have registered since the beginning of the year. All of them receive a number of preferences. In particular, thanks to tax incentives for 2021, the companies participating in the hub saved more than 9 billion 747 million tenge, which is 5 billion tenge more than in 2020. In addition, this year 45 new foreign participants joined the international technopark, who relocated or expanded their business to Kazakhstan and became participants in the preferential tax regime. In total, 65 foreign companies are registered in the technopark. Among them are IT companies from Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan, UAE, Turkey, Germany, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia and other countries of near and far abroad. In 2021, Astana Hub participants raised more than 37 million tenge from domestic and foreign investors, and the total amount of IT exports by the end of the year will be more than $100 million.
“Astana Hub is an entire ecosystem with a wide range of opportunities for growth. We have programs for freelancers, students, aspiring tech entrepreneurs, product start-ups, and even large established companies. All of them are available absolutely free of charge as part of state support measures to anyone who wants to develop technological entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan. Next year, we are already preparing a number of new useful programs for startups and we promise to surprise even more,” says Magzhan Madiyev, General Director of the Technopark.
2021 was marked by a number of new programs aimed at the development of technological projects. One of them is Techpreneurs - an acceleration program for continuous support of startups at all stages of development. In the new accelerator format, each participant himself forms a program plan and chooses the services he needs: tracking, group workshops and individual consultations. As part of the acceleration program of the new format, in 2021, 378 applications were received from startups of different stages, of which 236 received relevant services, signed new agreements, 54 of which moved to a new stage of development.
Another anchor project was the Seed Money program. Astana Hub for the first time launched financing of domestic and foreign companies that create competitive IT products in the total amount of 300 million tenge. Based on the results of the competitive selection, 35 finalists will receive funding up to $47,000 for the development and scaling of their projects.
For the first time, 94 Kazakhstani IT companies and technology startups passed the Scalerator acceleration program to increase the export of IT services and technology products. Within the framework of the program, the participants signed contracts and agreements for $840,000 and attracted investments for more than $300,000. The program helped to get a few steps closer to the goal set by the President of the country, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, to reach $500 million in exports of IT services by 2025. Another task set by the Head of State - to train at least 100 thousand qualified IT personnel, was successfully implemented within the framework of the Tech Orda program. Its technopark was launched in order to make high-quality digital education as accessible as possible for Kazakhstanis. 100 Kazakhstanis aged 18 to 35 have already received vouchers for training in programming schools in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent, Karaganda, Semey and Uralsk, in the amount of 600 thousand tenge each. Next year, as part of the program, another 2,000 people will receive quotas, and by 2025 this figure will reach 20,000 people.
55 specialists were trained in venture investment skills within the framework of the VC School for venture investors. Participants had the opportunity to gain live knowledge from top CIS investors and try their hand at evaluating startups. Existing investors evaluated startups throughout the year as part of events such as Invest Day, Russ-Finn Demo Day, Unicorn Pitches Central Asia, and Demo Days as part of the Scalerator program.
This year, Astana Hub began to develop a network of international agents. Today, 9 top experts and entrepreneurs from Russia, USA, Japan, UAE, Turkey, Mexico, Romania and Indonesia are looking for investments for startups, organizing pitch sessions for investors and potential clients. The first results of the program are Cerebra's planned pilot project at the Makkah Clinic in Saudi Arabia.
In 2021, the technology park has significantly expanded the list of free educational programs for Kazakhstanis. Beginning startups, students and all those who are interested in the IT world were able to learn on the new Learning management system platform. The LMS platform is a distance learning system where you can study courses in various areas, perform interactive exercises, take tests, track progress, and even participate in the prize draw. To date, programs such as the Beta Career educational marathon, the Startup School course for beginners, the Freelance School course for freelancers, the No Code development course and the technological entrepreneurship course for university students are available on the platform. All of these courses will also be available next year with additional new modules and speakers.
As part of the development of IT communities in the regions, Astana Hub community managers worked in 15 cities of Kazakhstan. Hackathons were held in the regions, where schoolchildren and students developed technological solutions to meet the different needs of cities. And solutions to the social problems of their region. novice developers offered in the "Idea Battle" competition, as a result of which the 3 best projects received certificates for financing their projects in the amount of 200 thousand tenge.
Also, for the first time, Astana Hub and the Almaty Akimat implemented the joint Smart City Accelerator Almaty program, where startups solved the problems of the urban environment and adapted digital products to the needs of the metropolis. The program resulted in the launch of 14 pilot projects in Almaty. One of them is the “Monitoring, Controlling and Accounting System for field work”, which is already operating in tandem with 4 city departments.
This year, the IT community was presented with a digital version of the technopark, where all large and small processes are automated: from accepting applications for participation in programs to filling out online reports for technopark residents who receive tax and visa preferences.
More than 17 large enterprises of Kazakhstan received diagnostics of their business processes as part of the Astana Hub corporate innovation program. As part of the diagnostics, the companies received recommendations on digitalization and proposals for the implementation of IT products.
A bright result of the year was the corporate accelerator from Plug and Play Kazakhstan, which Astana Hub is implementing in partnership with Transtelecom JSC. Thanks to the program, 20 IT startups got a unique opportunity to improve their skills under the mentorship of experts from the world's largest accelerator from Silicon Valley.